Hello all! Tomorrow, February 7, is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arriving in the US for the first time (and it also happens to be Penny Lane Bloom's birthday). I wanted to do something special to commemorate this huge date in Beatles history, so I decided to do a giveaway. A massive giveaway! How does this look?
Yep! One lucky winner will received a signed, personalize set of my books:
Better Off Friends hardcover (I only have two copies!)
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality hardcover
Take a Bow paperback
Prom & Prejudice paperback
The Lonely Hearts Club paperback
Starting at 12:01 a.m. EST Friday, February 7, 2014: All you need to do to enter is tweet what your favorite Beatles song is with the hashtag #BetterOffBeatles. Simple!
Here are the RULES:
The contest closes at 10:00 a.m EST on Saturday, February 8, 2014.
One winner will be chosen from random using random.org.
Winner must provide a US address. Yes, it's US only. Sorry about that, but it would take too much time and money to try to ship such a large package abroad. I need to finish The Lonely Hearts Club sequel instead of spending hours at the post office! (And I did just do an international giveaway on Facebook, so...)
If the winner doesn't get back to me within 48 hours of notification or does not have a US address, another winner will be selected. We'll keep going like that until I have a winner!
That's it! Can't wait to see what everybody's favorite song is! I can't choose, it's impossible. I know, you'd think I'd ask an easier question, but it's for FIVE books!
Last night I watched Martin Scorsese's documentary "George Harrison: Living in a Material World." It was a three-and-a-half hour long intimate look at George's public and private life. It was personal, it was touching, and to put it simply, it was amazing. I highly recommend it to anybody who loves The Beatles (it's currently playing in repeats on HBO in the US).
I mentioned briefly in my blog about seeing Sir Paul McCartney this summer that I have a very special place in my heart for George. I always hate when I'm asked who my favorite Beatles is because it really is a hard question to answer. I absolutely love Sir Paul, he can do no wrong in my eyes. His post-Beatles career has been filled with so many wonderful songs. I have nothing but the utmost respect for John Lennon, it is such a tragedy that he was taken away from us so early. And of course, Ringo has this charm and humor about him that he just makes you smile. And then there's George. Sweet, sweet, underrated George.
What it must've been like to be surrounded by the songwriting genius of Lennon/McCartney. How could you even compete? But then quiet George comes in and gives us such brilliant songs as "Taxman," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Here Comes the Sun," and, of course, "Something." As Sir Paul has recalled on more than one occasion, Frank Sinatra once said to him, "'Something' is my favorite Lennon/McCartney song." To which Sir Paul cheekily responded, "Mine too."
I burst into tears last night when "Something" came on. Every time I hear the song, I have (and I mean HAVE) to sing aloud loudly to my favorite part: "You're asking me will my love grow, I don't know... I don't know." This just gets me every time. Such passion, such honesty, such beauty... It is not only one of my favorite Beatles songs, it is one of my favorite songs, period.
When I was in grade school, George Harrison came out with a new album. I didn't know a lot about The Beatles back then, but I did like it when their music came on the oldies station my mom listened to. "I've Got My Mind Set On You" was the big hit from that album, but I remember loving the second single, "When We Was Fab," more. I guess it was the soon-to-be-realized Beatles fangirl inside of me getting ready to come out. Click here to see the video, which I love because it has Ringo, an homage to Sgt. Pepper's, a walrus, an apple, lots of Beatles references that I didn't "get" when I was little.
George was also extremely spiritual. He's responsible for bringing in the sitar and other eastern influences on the Beatles later albums. This also influenced his solo work. Probably George's best known solo song is the one that I'll leave you with, "My Sweet Lord." I'm happy that George is getting the recognition he deserves through this documentary. And hopefully, it'll make it harder in the future for a lot of people to answer the question, "Who's your favorite Beatle?"
Dear George, I send you all my love. I find comfort in your music and words on a daily basis. And as you once said, "Here comes the sun and I say, 'It's all right.'"
Please note: my website is currently being updated, so I wasn't able to embed the videos (hence the links) and comments are closed until update is ready.
Three years ago, I saw the greatest concert of my life: Sir Paul McCartney (read about that here). About two seconds after the concert ended, I thought, I must see him again. Then a couple months ago, I found out that not only was Sir Paul returning to NYC, he was going to be playing Yankee Stadium, on my birthday. I mean, can it get better than that? I think not.
Tickets were secured, as was my partner-in-crime for the evening: fellow Beatles fan, YA author superstar, and fab friend Susane Colasanti. [Read Susane's blog about the concert here.]
It was ON.
Before I knew it, my birthday/Sir Paul Day arrived. I want to take this moment to thank everybody for the birthday wishes on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I was truly overwhelmed and moved by each and every message. Of course I was hoping Sir Paul would perform “Birthday,” but luckily Susane agreed to sing it for me if Sir Paul didn’t come through.
It was a gorgeous evening at Yankee Stadium. I had my Sgt. Peppers LONELY HEARTS CLUB Band t-shirt (of course!), Susane wore her brand-new Paul McCartney tee, and oh yeah, I had a Birthday Girl tiara. That’s how we roll.
Sir Paul started the show with “Hello/Goodbye” and I was freaking out. I mean, Sir Paul flippin’ McCartney (that’s right, I said flippin’!) is singing a Beatles song!!! It’s very, very surreal. It’s almost hard to comprehend. Honestly, there are so many moments to talk about so here are just some of the many, many highlights of the night:
I was really, really, really hoping he was going to sing “Something” in honor of George Harrison again. There was an adorable twelve-year-old girl behind us who was a George fan and when I told her he did when I saw him three years ago, she got so excited. I have a special place in my heart for George. When I’m asked who my favorite Beatle is, it’s really so hard. Usually I say it’s a tie between Paul and George because as much as I LOVE Sir Paul, I think George is extremely underrated. Two of my favorite songs: “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” were written by George. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time. And he’s just AWESOME. Paul brought out his ukulele and started talking about George. Honestly words cannot describe how beautiful this moment is, so luckily I found this from his concert in Liverpool back in 2008:
I just cried watching it. One thing to note, at the beginning of the song, the camera cuts to two women. You might recognize one as Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow (she’s in the hat), to the left is Olivia Harrison, George’s widow. Another side note, when an attacker broke into the Harrison’s home in 1999 and stabbed George, Olivia fought off the attacker with a fire poker and lamp until the police arrived. I mean, how bad-A is that? At the end of the song, she blows a kiss to Paul. It destroyed me this morning. I really miss George… Okay, back to the concert. Sir Paul played “Something” and the whole crowd sang aloud to one of my favorite parts of any Beatles song: “You’re asking me will my love grow, I don’t know, I don’t know…” Gah, so good! And I’m pretty sure the twelve-year-old’s year was made with that performance. I know mine was!
Of course, Sir Paul had to pay tribute to John Lennon. He did this twice, first performing the song he wrote after Lennon’s death, the extremely moving “Here Today.” I teared up during that song. He also ended “A Day in the Life” with a sing-along to “Give Peace a Chance.”
Oh and I can’t forget that Sir Paul thanked me! That’s right, Sir Paul McCartney thanked me! Okay, he didn’t say “Thanks to Elizabeth Eulberg!” But after “Blackbird” he thanked all the guitar students out there who have learned to play the song. And that’s ME! So, pretty much, Sir Paul McCartney personally thanked me on my birthday.
For the first time ever, Sir Paul performed “The Night Before” – could not believe it. I also couldn’t believe he did “All My Lovin,’” “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” There were some songs I was hoping he would play that he didn’t get around to, but even if the concert lasted 24 hours, there would be something missing. He has that many classics. Try to name one other artist with as many… It’s impossible.
Wow. There’s so many more moments to share. It’s a little overwhelming. “Elearnor Rigby” was another one of those somebody pinch me moments. Crazy fireworks and pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.” Singing along to “Drive My Car’s” Beep-Beep-MM-Beep-Beep-YEAH! “Paperback Writer” since, um, I’m a writer and The Lonely Hearts Club is out in paperback. So obviously that song was written about me (pay no attention to the fact I wasn’t even born when it was written).
Oh, and can I just say that Sir Paul is a ROCK STAR. He’s 69 years old and rocking out like a kid. A few times I used the word “cheeky” to describe him. He joked around with the audience, told funny stories, had us repeat him (at once point he got us all to bark like a dog, and I did it. I’d do anything Sir Paul asked me to. “Hey Elizabeth, shave your head and then walk around naked.” Me: “Would be okay if I at least had sunscreen on?”). But what I loved the most was that at the beginning, he asked the audience to give him a moment so he can soak in playing at Yankee Stadium for the first time. I loved this. And I also noticed that most of the audience enjoyed the show and didn’t spend the entire time recording it on their phones or texting (don't get me started on that). Everybody was in the moment.
As much as we were hoping he’d play “Birthday,” he didn’t. Which in retrospect was probably a good thing. Anytime we thought there was a possibility, Susane and I would start freaking out. I really think I would’ve died had he played it. But at least I would’ve died very, very happy!
After nearly three hours, two encores, and thirty-five songs(!!!!), Sir Paul sang the final line, which was absolute perfection: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Sir Paul left the stage and as sad as I was to see him go, he gave the entire audience an unforgettable evening.
But wait! My concert experience wasn’t fully over because as people were leaving, Susane did her own encore just for me. As promised, she sang “Birthday” complete with choreographed dance moves. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day (and the guys a few rows up really seemed to enjoy seeing the two of us dance around)!
So from me to Sir Paul and Susane: thank you both for truly the best birthday this girl could ever hope for.
The set list:
1) Hello, Goodbye
2) Junior's Farm
3) All My Lovin'
5) Drive My Car
6) Sing The Changes (The Fireman Song)
7) The Night Before
8) Let Me Roll It (I have no idea why there's a smiley face here - it won't go away so I'm not going to fight it!!!)
9) Paperback Writer
10) The Long and Winding Road
11) Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
12) Let 'Em In
13) Maybe I'm Amazed
14) I've Just Seen A Face
15) I Will
17) Here Today
18) Dance Tonight
19) Mrs. Vanderbilt
20) Eleanor Rigby
22) Band On The Run
23) Obla Di Obla Da
24) Back In The U.S.S.R
25) I've Got A Feeling
26) A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance
27) Let It Be
28) Live and Let Die
29) Hey Jude
30) Lady Madonna
31) Day Tripper
32) Get Back
34) Helter Skelter
35) Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
I thought the Beatles being available on iTunes would be a perfect time to blog about The Lonely Hearts Club playlist. This information is already available on my site, but it is under The Beatles section of The Lonely Hearts Club so some of you may not have found it. Although if you do want to check out a photo of me on Abbey Road with a really bad haircut from college, I encourage you to go to that page.
Originally, each chapter title of The Lonely Hearts Club was the title of a Beatles song—and in that chapter, a line from the song corresponded to something that happens. That was pretty challenging since I refused to change the lyrics (and because the Beatles are guys and Penny is a girl there were some he/she issues). Eventually, during the editing process we broke up the chapters and realized that it was going to be too tricky to pull off for various reasons.
Although some of the book has changed since I originally came up with this list, it still fits with the book.
THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB PLAYLIST
Two of Us
We Can Work It Out
Do You Want to Know a Secret?
If I Fell
Don’t Bother Me
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
I’m So Tired
You Can’t Do That
I’ll Be Back
With a Little Help From My Friends
Things We Said Today
From Me to You
Here Comes the Sun
Other favorite Beatles songs, not on the "official" LHC playlist are:
Ticket to Ride (the first line, “I think I’m gonna be sad, I think it’s today…” breaks my heart every time)